“Social Committees” = “Us versus Them”

August 18, 2009

My buddy Bill just tweaked my “bitch bone”.  I’ve been meaning to write my next rant about this issue for some time, but when I read Bill’s post about reacting to others’ comments, it sent me into a froth. Ironic, huh?

The subject of this rant is:  obligatory office/school/work parties. I can’t stand those things. These are the parties where some young, annoyingly, chirpy bubble headed “life of the party” chick comes up to you and says: “Hey! Wanna donate to the social committee fund? Only 40 bucks for the whole year!”

Social committee, my ass. This is just one more way to suck money out of my wallet while making me realize how much of an invisible person I really am where I work. Let me give you an example (names have been removed to protect the obnoxious).

At the start of the last year (yes, I am in education), a staffer put a sign out that said “Social Committee: 40 dollars , sign up here”. Well, I was part time and worried more about paying my electricity bill and feeding my hungry children than contributing to a “social” committee. (So, I never bothered to sign up, nor did I ask what exactly the “social committee” was in charge of doing.) Allegedly, the committee was “created to raise funds to purchase cards and a candy bar for birthday celebrants, and generally any other occasion that requires buying a cake.” Oh, yea, sure. I just call it one more way to shake down people for money.

Not being on the committee, I didn’t think anything of it, until IT happened. My big day. Okay, I admit I didn’t TELL anyone it was my birthday before it came, but my birthday date was posted in the staff room. And, the sparkly tiara I was wearing all day should have been a big clue that “something” was going on with me (Yes, I DO have a tiara I wear on my big day, I’ve been doing this for 5 years now.) I wasn’t expecting a card or chocolate bar. After all, I never DID pay my money so that wouldn’t have been fair. I’m the kinda gal who doesn’t expect special treatment or feel I am above following the rules.

BUT, not one single person on said “social committee” even offered a “Happy Birthday” to me. The entire day went unnoticed, unspoken, unacknowledged. If it hadn’t been for my team worker bringing her kids into my classroom to sing “Happy Birthday” at the end of the day, the issue would have never been mentioned (my team worker is GREAT!!!) Meanwhile, “Chirpy Shirley” and her crony “Psycho Bitch” were showered in praise, chocolate bars, cards and a cake for their birthdays. And that pisses me off. It became nothing more than another “popular crowd versus the nobodies” event.

Yes, I know this sounds like I’m whining and begging for attention, but that is not what this rant is all about (is it ever really about the story?)

I am sick and tired of being asked to participate in “work parties” where I know I am not wanted. I don’t care that so and so is having a bridal shower or a baby shower. If I don’t hang out with them on a personal basis outside of the work place, then I don’t feel like I should have to fork over much needed cash to purchase them a gift. (Conversely, I wouldn’t expect them to do the same for me).

And the bad part is, if I don’t get involved, then I become the “snob”. If I do get involved, then I am giving away hard earned cash for NOTHING in return — not so much as an invitation to go to the local bar for after-work drinks. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t.

I’m pretty sure this whole issue started back when I first entered the workforce. I have always been “the odd woman out”. Very few women “get” my sense of humor or are willing to accept the fact that I don’t give a damn about shoes, purses, shopping, designer labels, vapid conversation, Cosmopolitans, Brad Pitt, etc. I also don’t have the time, desire or energy to sit around bitching about men. I love the way men think — it’s the bitchy women who sit around bitching about men who annoy the crap out of me.

I’m not a cold-hearted, uncaring bitch. I can be very generous when the situation calls for it. One of my colleagues has been battling breast cancer. She has a “meals on wheels” deal set up for co-workers to bring her and her family pre-cooked meals so she doesn’t have to worry about that while she undergoes the fight for her life. I eagerly and willingly volunteered my hubby to cook up a big ol’ pot of homemade chili (he’s the chili expert, I just delivered the food) and even included a bag of cheddar cheese with that.

But, my generosity should end there, guilt-free.  So please, folks, stop with the incessant “obligatory office parties” shit. It makes me want to join the post office just so I can go postal on some unsuspecting, chirpy, bubble headed woman.


“Mistake” versus “Choice”

August 6, 2009

I’ve had it with the euphemism world out there. Specifically, the one world where people believe the words “a series of bad choices” can be intermingled, intermangled, and interchanged with the words “stupid mistake”. Let me explain.

Here, in my relatively “safe” local suburb, a police officer was recently arrested for riding his motorcycle at 149 mph down a country road. Yes, that number IS correct: 149 MPH!

First, I can’t stand motorcycles. And don’t even bother to respond to this post if you own one and want to tell me how wonderful they are — I will never be convinced. They are dangerous to ride and even more dangerous to have to drive anywhere near. I can never see the bike until it’s within smacking distance. Sorry — but all the safety training in the world won’t guarantee you will come out of a 25-foot skid over asphalt unscathed if you choose to ride your motorcycle wearing only flip flops, shorts and a wife-beater shirt. For people who choose to do that, thank you for your willingness to “thin the herd” of stupid people.

But this rant isn’t about motorcycles. It’s about what happens when people are caught doing something they know they shouldn’t be doing, and the excuses that stream from their mouths once they are standing before their local judge.

In the case of High-Speed Willy, his only comment to the judge was: “I made a mistake.” And this is where my head exploded.

A couple years ago, the principal of my children’s middle school was arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI or DUI for some). It was 2:00 am, he was going the wrong way down a one-way street, and when asked for his driver’s license, he handed the arresting officer his Blockbuster card. Yea, he’s REALLLY coherent. He blew twice the legal limit on the Breathalyzer.

Of course this made the local news — TV, newspaper, etc. His name was everywhere along with the name of the middle school my kids attend.

While I am not opposed to adults getting their “drink on”, I am vehemently opposed to drinking and driving and was very irate by this principal’s words to the press: “I made a mistake.” No, a mistake is accidentally dropping your cell phone in a river while fishing, or accidentally leaving a wallet filled with money on a table in a high school weight room after you’ve left for the night. (Both of which have occurred to family members of mine).

What these two morons (the police officer and the principal) did were make bad CHOICES. The police officer didn’t accidentally stomp his foot down on the gas pedal and clutch, causing an unexpected acceleration — for which he kept it down (again, by mistake?) for an extended period of time. He didn’t suddenly find himself  “swerving” on the road, around cars that mysteriously “appeared” beside him.The principal didn’t “accidentally” walk into a bar, unknowingly order shot after shot of alcohol (or beer, whatever the case may be), unwillingly open his mouth, surprisingly pour it down his throat hour after hour, then get back into his car and inadvertently drive off into the night.

The drunken principal’s situation hits closer to home with me. Not because it’s the school where my kids go, or the fact that I am a teacher. No, it hits home with me because of what happened two days before he was busted for DUI. My son was caught goofing around during a fire drill, and was given a “Saturday school” for this. The principal pulled my son into his office, said “Because of your CHOICE to screw around during school, you can come to Saturday school.” And when the principal called me to tell me what he had done, I agreed with the principal’s use of the term “choice”. My son earned that extra day in school for the poor choice he made.

But, when the principal was busted for DUI, what do you imagine was the consequence for his behavior? Jail time? Personally, I would have loved to see him serve 3 days in jail. But, of course that didn’t happen. Instead, the school district gave him 10 days, suspended leave, with pay. WITH PAY.

Sorry, but that is not a “consequence” for a school principal — that’s a freaping vacation! How am I, as a responsible parent, expected to teach my son and daughter about “consequences” when the adult leaders aren’t taking responsibility for THEIR own actions?And THIS chaps my hide.

Fortunately, the students were smart enough to recognize the actions of the principal were abhorrent. Conversely, the principal lost all respect from his student body immediately after the incident. None of the students were able to resist a good “So I threw a spit wad at Suzy, so what? At least I didn’t get busted for drinking and driving and gave the cop my Blockbuster card!” As disrespectful as that sounds, you cannot argue the logic behind that.

For the police officer, I believe his career is officially over. The local city government has issued a statement concerning the officer’s conduct and how it is detrimental to the overall “perception” of the police force.

There is some wonderful irony to both of the stories above:

The officer’s story is an ironic metaphor for motorcycle riding. He threw himself under the bus, and came out in a world of hurt.

The principal was demoted to the rank of “assistant principal” and is now responsible for disciplining disruptive, behaviorally challenged, high school students.

All because of the “mistakes” they claim to have made. Yea, right.

Scenes from a Bar

August 4, 2009

The “Frat-Boy Bar”:








The “Piano Bar”:









Conversations with My Muse: Reacting to Stress

August 3, 2009

Ummmm…can I come in?

Well, well, you’re back…


Do we even need to talk about where you’ve been these past few days?

Stop shouting…I’ve got a raging headache.


Please stop! I think my head’s going to explode here

Serves you right! What in the world happened this weekend?

I went a little off the deep end.

I heard that…you know the authorities are out looking for you?

Yes, the grapevine is all abuzz about what happened in Italy

Amazing what happens when the story shows up on the internet news wires, huh?

Guess so. Are you mad?

Hey — it’s not my fault you went on a bender. I’m not ultimately responsible for your behavior, ya know..

I know, I know…but — I had a great excuse–

This oughta be good…care to elaborate?

I was “stressed”…

Stressed? STRESSED?

Please, I’ve asked you not to shout…and yes, I was stressed.

What in the wide, wide world of writing could you be stressed about?

That speech…

What speech? I’m assuming you have assisted many people in writing speeches, right?

Yes, but THAT speech — you know, the one I did last week for the genocide witness.

Ohhhh–okay, go on

That one knocked me off my ancient flip flops. I thought the topic was going to be a little less heavy than it turned out to be…

Well, you knew going in it was going to be about “genocide”, didn’t you?

Yes, of course I knew that..based on the outline she had ready for me. I just didn’t expect it to become as gruesome as it did…

Gruesome? What exactly did you and she write about anyways?

Ohhhh, this and that..ya know, it’s not easy to talk about it — especially with a throbbing headache…got any aspirin? I tried chewing a willow tree branch, but that didn’t work.

I have ibuprofen, if that helps

I’ll try anything. Gawwd, I feel like crap!

No doubt. So, wanna talk about it?

About what?

The speech? Your bender? Why you felt it necessary to trash a hotel, sleep with an Italian soccer team, shout at the Pope….need I say more?

Oh myyyy…did I really do all those things?

Yes, and more..why — don’t you remember?

I don’t remember anything past the nachos and margaritas at the hotel’s bar.

Oh, that’s bad

Tell me about it…can I have that ibuprofen now?

Sure…here ya go, and make sure you chase those down with a big glass of water.

Uggggh, thanks.

Okay, so — the speech was horrifying, you got stressed out….took a much needed vacation. I get all that.


What I don’t get was the trouble you got into afterwards. Did you even stop to think about what you’ve done?

I told you, I don’t remember anything beyond Friday night…nada, zero, zip.

Wow, that’s bad. Do you need a reminder?

I dunno — do I need a reminder?

Well, there was a news report out there about you…I figure someone might be looking for you.

Oh nooo..

I would suggest you do two things: 1) lawyer up — you’re going to need a good one to help you weed through this mess you’ve made for yourself and 2) turn yourself in.

Lawyer up? What’s that?

Find a good public defense attorney who can argue your case for you — apparently you’re not in any position to defend yourself — I don’t care how good of a writer you think you are, there is no way you’re going to write yourself out of this one.

Ugggh, guess I have no choice. Okay, next?

Number 2: turn yourself in. Authorities appreciate not having to use their valuable time and resources tracking down criminals. If you turn yourself in, throw yourself at their mercy, then maybe you’ll have the more serious charges reduced down to some minor misdemeanors.

What does that mean for me?

Well, in some cases, the courts will sympathize and give you community service.

That’s not too bad, huh?

Well, it depends…it seems that happens with celebrities and rich people more than anyone else — of which you are neither.

Again with the “celebrities” — why do they get away with so much?

Ask them, I’m just a regular “jane”. I live in the midwest.

I suppose I could use my charm and try to get the charges whittled down, huh?

I’d try that. Anyone you know who could help you write a really emotional plea bargain? I suggest you hire them.

Good idea. As for community service, what would you consider a fair amount?

200 hours of community service…


Hey, you insulted the POPE and Christianity..do you have any idea how pissed off people are at you? Two thousand years of religious theology — and you had to go and denounce it? Then, insult the very  man who introduced more than 1,000 words into the English language? Wow, I’m amazed they aren’t calling for you to be burned at the stake like the heretics of old!

Again, not my fault…

I disagree — it IS your fault, but the motives behind your actions are somewhat plausible.

Haven’t you ever done anything under stress?

Sure, I have..I was just thinking about that today..

And what is that?

Well, I finally stopped a lifetime habit of biting my nails.


Yea, did it most of my life.

Any insight why?

I dunno. But strangely enough, ever since I started writing, I stopped biting my nails.


I sense you have a theory about this?

Of course.

Okay, shoot..

I think you had so much to say, and no “safe” place to say it, that you were all “bottled up” inside.

Now it’s my turn to say “hmmm”. Go on.

Well, once you started getting these thoughts down on paper, you relaxed a bit, and no longer feel that same level of compulsion to bite your nails.

Ah. Fascinating.

It actually is amazing, when we think about it. Our brains make us do things we aren’t consciously aware we are doing.

Have you been studying psychiatry now?

A little bit. I’m fascinated by how the brain works.

Me too, I especially am intrigued about the nature of “handedness” and how that plays in our development.

Are we going off topic here?

Just a bit. I am definitely more creative than I am analytical. That’s cuz I’m a leftie. Creativity occurs more in the right brain than the left…

Uhhh, my head’s beginning to pound again. Can we table this discussion for now?

Sure, besides, don’t you have something important to do?


Turn yourself in, face the authorities, etc..?

I suppose so…But, can I have a drink first?


Come on, how well do you know me?

Too well, which is why I’m shocked.

Oh, lighten up — I was only kidding.

Okay, okay — I’ll give you that one. And I’ll let you go. But you have to promise me something first?

What’s that?

Do the right thing. Always. And if you feel like you’re getting overstressed again, come to ME first, k?

Will do.



Later, chickie.

Conversations with My Muse: Consequences of Our Actions

August 2, 2009

Well, well. It looks as though my muse has gotten herself into a little bit of a legal entanglement. While perusing the internet news sites, I came across this little news blurb:

Woman Sought for Damages, Causing International Havoc

(IP) International authorities (Interpol) are currently on the search for a woman connected to a recent series of disturbances in and around the Mediterranean area. As recently as last Friday, July 3l, several witnesses staying at the Hotel Trevi in Rome, Italy, indicated they had seen a young woman acting “strangely”. “We were there to see the Pope,” Augusta Sincionni stated to local authorities. “We didn’t expect such a sideshow!”

According to local attendees at the Pope’s Friday night service, the woman was overheard yelling random, nonsensical things such as: “Down with monotheism! Socrates deserved to die!” and, most bizarrely “Shakespeare was a fake!”

Unable to apprehend the suspect, authorities are now asking for the public’s help. The woman can be described as “in her mid- to late-twenties, braided, reddish hair, wearing a white toga with gold lamé trim and carrying a switch-blade stylus.” Anyone who sees a woman matching that description is encouraged to contact the local authorities. She is not considered “armed and dangerous,” merely off her medication.

Conversations with My Muse: My Muse Takes a Vacation

August 1, 2009

(This is what I received at 3:30 pm EST)

To: wordnerd45@wordpress.com
From: Muse2009@wordpress.com
Subject: Vacation
Date: July 31, 2009

Hey there! Just arrived at my hotel room. The place is gorgeous! The view outside of my window is spectacular. Will unpack my belongings and head down for a quick toe dip in the ocean. Afterwards, a nap and dinner.

Hope all is well back at your place – talk to you soon!

The Muse

(This is what I sent at 3:47 pm EST)

To: Muse2009@wordpress.com
From: wordnerd45@wordpress.com
Subject: RE: Vacation
Date: July 31, 2009

Glad to hear you made it there safely. Sounds like they set you up with some pretty decent accommodations. Dip a toe in the ocean for me too, k?

Talk to you soon!

The Nerd

(Time of new email: 6:23 pm)

To: wordnerd45@wordpress.com
From: Muse2009@wordpress.com
Subject: RE: RE: Vacation
Date: July 31, 2009

Plans changed a bit. Met up with my sorority sisters and fellow muses. We’re going to the hotel’s bar for a quick visit and to gorge on some nachos and margaritas. Will email you before bed–say 10 pm? See ya!


The Muse

(Time of new email: 8:20 pm EST)

To: wordnerd45@wordpress.com
From: Muse2009@wordpress.com
Subject: RE: RE: RE: Vacation
Date: July 31, 2009

Hey, how’s it goin? I’m GREAAAT! Sisters and I havng fun…met some good lookng guys from Italy – I think I helpd one of the guy write a sonnet once – not sure LOL!

Eratos starting to act a little too sluty for my tasts. She sure can slam down the wine!

Headin to a frat party. I think I might be a bit underdressed…idk


(Time of new email 2:17 am EST)

To: wordnerd45@wordpress.com
From: Muse2009@wordpress.com
Subject: RE: RE: RE: RE: Vacation
Date: August 1, 2009

OMG, I’ soooooo wastd! Frat party suckd – so we went back to Thalia’s to watch some comedy shows. Erato stole my boyfriend – f*ckin B! Sh can walk hme!I knew I colndt trust her around hm.


Where’d that fire exguisher?

Oh crap- the dor….siitt – cops here! gtta g!

(Time of new email 10:30 am EST)

To: wordnerd45@wordpress.com
From: hotelsecurity@wordpress.com
Subject: Damage Incurred to Hotel Room
Date: August 1, 2009

Dear Ms. “Wordnerd45”:

I am writing to inform you of the current conditions of room #751 here at this hotel. Apparently, one of your personal acquaintances “The Muse”, six of her friends, an entire Italian soccer team and one grey, three-legged donkey took up accommodations in this hotel the prior evening.

Upon their departure, our housekeeping staff discovered the room in complete ruins. Damages include, but are not limited To: overturned furniture, torn draperies, unidentifiable stains on the carpeting, and what appears to be some form of “wood burning barbeque pit” in the foyer of the suite.

Since we are fairly certain the rented room was in pristine condition prior to your friend’s visit, we believe she is partially liable for the costs of repair. However, when we approached her this morning to inquire about the evening’s events, she was nowhere to be found.

Only through searching through her laptop records did we find your email address.

Please respond accordingly, so we can track her down and make her reimburse us for all damages associated with last night’s debauchery. Any help you can give us to locate her would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!


Hotel Management

(Time of response: 12:17 pm)

To: hotelsecurity@wordpress.com
From: wordnerd45@wordpress.com
Subject: RE: Damage Incurred to Hotel Room
Date: August 1, 2009

Dear Hotel Security Team Members:

I am sorry to hear about the current situation at your hotel. I can only imagine how disappointed and alarmed you must feel concerning the state of room #751.

However, I do not know what I can do to assist you in locating the culpable parties involved. My muse has a mind of her own, and has been known to cause this type of trouble prior to today, on numerous occasions.

You might want to try to contact Hera, Zeus’ wife, on Mt. Olympus. She seems to be a bit of know-it-all busybody, and most likely would be able to tell you exactly where my muse and her six sisters currently are.

Good luck—let me know how things turn out!

The Nerd